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How I Made a Difference on December 20,2007


Today I made a difference by joining BookCrossing.com. It is a website where you can register books you have read that you are willing to share. When you register your book there, you are given an ID number for the book, which you write inside of it. Then, you can leave your books anywhere in your community. People can go to BookCrossing to see where books have been left in their neighborhood. And if someone finds the books you’ve “released into the wild” they can follow the instructions left inside each book to let you know they’ve “caught” them. This way, you can track your books and see wherever they go! Some books end up in other countries!

My third grade teacher, Mrs. Morath gave me some books to donate to Roswell’s booksale earlier this month (thank you Mrs. Morath!!!!) but it was too late because we had already delivered our books and the sale was over. My mom and I thought this was a good way to share them with others. We can register other books and release them into the wild whenever we want because we registered ourselves.

So where are our books hiding?

Tonight, we are going to leave our books at Panera Bread Company on the corner of Delaware and Sheridan. My mom is taking them there after dinner! Anyone who wants to read them can head over there, pick them up, take them home, read them, and pass them along! Just make sure you follow the instructions inside the cover of each one. I hope these books travel far!

Also! Go check out BookCrossing.com because it’s very cool!


Making Our List, Checking it Twice

Christmas is exactly ONE WEEK AWAY! Do you know what this means? It means that in seven short days, I will be announcing 2 Grand Prize Winners, 2 Better Late Than Never Winners, and 1 Winner of the Classroom Challenge!

My mom and I have been visiting your blogs and receiving your email messages every single day. We have put all of your good deeds into an excel spreadsheet! If you would like us to double check and make sure we have you on our list and that your deeds are updated, please just email us at twentyfivedays(at)gmail(dot)com to let us know.

Right now, we have all of the people below listed on our spreadsheet, and all of the classrooms are listed on the NASA Classroom Challenge page above. If you belong on one of these lists, but your name is missing, please email us right away and let us know!

I think it is kind of strange that so many of you are saying I am inspiring. That is really nice, but it is really ALL OF THESE PEOPLE who are inspiring me! We should all do good things all year long. It has been really special to blog about it with all of you. It fills me with a lot of spirit!

Lillian, Duncan, Hunter, and Drew

Mean Girls Need Not Apply

Branden McKee



Stephen Phillips

Julianne Cairnes

Grace Aroune


Kelly Genet

Lynne Anne

Mary and her children

Eoin C.


Corey N.

Tracy D.

Cindy H.





Addi and Nisi

The Taylors


Mrs. Aroune

Kate Ellis

Sheila Cason

Kate Saltfleet

Orange Soda 2000


Roger Carr

Dr. Mani


Mrs. Toney


Kristen and Carmen

Patty J.

Kim Arthur

Mrs. Nabozny

Nolan and Evan W.

Mrs. Waggoner

Mrs. Mitchell

Mrs. Morath


Chris and Marcus


Anne M.

Dana F.


How I Made a Difference on December 8, 2007

Today I made a difference by collecting outgrown coats that I will donate to the Project Flight commitee at my school. My mom and I are going to go out and buy new hats and gloves to put on the hat and glove tree at school that will also go to the Project Flight program. They will be collected to benefit our local  Haven House.

 I hope that people will like my coats and are warm in them!

My classmates and my friends donated SO MANY BOOKS that the entire back of my parent’s Santa Fe is PACKED to the roof! We also went to my Aunt Joanie and Uncle Mike’s today to pick up more–thank you Aunt Joan and Uncle Mike. And thank you Mrs. Cairnes for bringing that big box over too!


Those of you who would like to be in the running for one of our grand prizes on Christmas night will need to be “in the game” by midnight tonight in New York State. So far, we have 24 people who have been competing almost every day and many, many others who are doing things at least once a week! And don’t worry because if you miss this deadline, you can still qualify for one of our “better late than never” prizes! This has been really fun! I love reading about all of the interesting things that you are all doing to make a difference. Take a peek at the “nice list” to see for yourself!!!!!


Making a List…Checking it Twice….

Laura and I spent some time this evening transferring her “paper” records to an excel spreadsheet so that we are able to keep track of who is making a difference. We have been updating it each evening by adding whatever you’ve reported in your comments here or on the blogs we’ve linked to below. If you are uncertain whether or not you are on our list, please feel free to email us at twentyfivedays(at)gmail(dot)com, and we will be able to confirm this for you. 

We are also trying to add updates to the “nice” list at the top of our home page daily, so our visitors can take a peek at all the good you are doing. It truly makes us smile!

How I Made a Difference on December 6, 2007

Today I made a difference by making lunch for Nina and I. I made a pb&j sandwitch I put an orange in and Ritz Bitz. Also I made a difference by ironing my clothes. I ironed my pants, and my shirt. I offeredto iron Nina’s clothes but she said no.

I also made a difference by sending letter to the soilders in Iraq. I sent two so far and I will send more later. You can write some letters to by going on to Let’s Say Thanks.

Today the kids in my class donated more books. Now I brought home three potato bags, and three tops bags filled to the top with books! If you would like to donate books to a nearby charity,  I recommend donating to somewhere where you know your books will be put to good use. Ours are going to Roswell Park Institute. Thank you so much for donating books if you are in my class!


This week I’ve realized that if I do good I will feel realy good about myself. I think that if  everyone did at least one good deed you will feel good and the world will also be a better place.

This week one thing  that made me feel special is when Mr. Carr wrote about me on his blog and offered to match my funds because I had no idea that that would ever happen! Also I would like to give a HUGE thanks to everyone that has written about me or has matched my funds! I am very surprised! 

Classroom Challenge: The Pot Has Been Sweetened

Susan, the “mommy” being supported by Team Why Mommy has offered the most AMAZINGLY COOL donation for the winners of our classroom challenge. Here, I’ll just cut and paste her magical words from the comment, where they are not nearly as visible as they should be:

This is a great idea!  If you need a prize for the winning classroom, I can offer this:  A 4 foot x 3 foot photo printout of the Martian landscape taken by the Mars rovers, a packet of solar system lithographs, and a special video conference call (or audio, if the school doesn’t have a webcam) with two NASA scientists.  We’ll give a talk and answer questions from the winning class.  Sound like fun?

Good luck to everyone!
Susan (WhyMommy from Toddler Planet)

So? Any takers? If your classroom would like to participate in this challenge, please leave us a comment or drop us an email. All information about the classroom challenge will soon be moved to a separate page, with a tab at the top for finding it.

How I Made a Difference on December 5, 2007


The dinner that I made

 Today I made a difference by making dinner for my family.I made noodles, sauce and and sausage. My mom was working late so I made dinner for my dad. My dad usually makes dinner so don’t think that dad is lazy.I loved dinner. Also, I made popcorn for my mom and will play a game with my sister. But before I play a game I will do the dishes.Like I do every night!



I have a ton of books now! My sister is as tall as the pile when it’s on the footstool in my family room! Nina will tell more about the books later because she is writing tonight too so be shure to leave a message on her post and it’s never too late to start the contests!

How About a Classroom Challenge?

Twenty Five Days to Make a Difference was the brainchild of my ten year old daughter, Laura, but our ability to get this site up and running was heavily influenced by a number of other people, and every single one of them is a teacher. I spent twelve years in the classroom myself, and I currently work for Erie 1 BOCES. My work affords me the opportunity to learn from some rather amazing people, including Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. My little family was blogging in several capacities long before I made their acquaintance, but it’s been through the 21st Century Learning initiative that I’ve come to truly appreciate how blogging can revitalize classroom instruction and begin to better meet the needs of the learners that are currently sitting in our classrooms. Our kids deserve to learn this way. They want to. And I’m excited to be a part of the growing movement that Will and Sheryl have started in our region.

As a mom, it was very difficult for me to witness the death of a grandfather that both of my girls adored, and honestly, when Laura decided that she wanted to dedicate a blog to this loss, my husband and I were a little concerned. Her decision to do this became an important teaching point in our home, and Laura is learning, with all of your help, how good can be found inside of even the worst tragedies. Watching the waves roll out from the tiny stone she cast into this cyber-universe has been an experience like no other for all of us. The magnitude of this experience could not have been realized without the use of technology. We all encourage our children to “pay it forward”…but being able to visibly WATCH exactly how far and wide these acts of kindness can travel is an important gift that blogging has provided us.

Internet safety issues concern all of us. When Laura pulled in 1000 hits on her first day, I will admit that a nice little knot formed in my stomach. But here we are an additional 4000 hits later, and I have yet to receive a single inappropriate message or piece of spam. Many people assume that when we put a child on the internet, we are inviting trouble. I think Laura is doing a lot to prove that it is possible for kids to do tremendous good and remain very safe. I honestly expected that I might be dealing with the worst of what the world has to offer when I sat down in my pajamas and opened her stats page on Sunday morning. I almost wanted to tear the blog down, because I was afraid. Instead, I shored up the safeties as much as I knew how, and I remained faithful. The fact is, I have approved every single comment we’ve received, and I’ve been overcome by the realization that when Laura challenged the internet to “good things” it performed way beyond her expectations.

I think the world is like this too. So, I appreciate the lesson.

This morning, Laura received a second matching funds request from an educator and his family. Pat Aroune is part of the 21st Century Learning Initiative, and ironically, Laura has known his daughter for some time now. This matching funds offer will be combined with the donation provided by Mike and Liz Fisher, the two teachers from Starpoint who contributed on Monday.

On Christmas night, Laura and I would like to award a prize to ONE classroom that makes the most difference between now and December 25th. But here’s the catch: whatever you do needs to supported, in some way, by technology. Blogging has done a lot of good for a lot of people here at Twenty Five Days this week. We’d like to challenge teachers and their students to use technology to do some good as well.

If you are in, please email us or leave a comment on this post! We will be creating a new page for teachers and students later on tonight…more details to come.

An Update From Laura’s Mom

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
Helen Keller

Laura began this project in response to the project prompt linked to this year’s New York State Parent Teacher Association’s Reflection’s Contest. Students were asked to generate a creative response to the following statement: “I Can Make a Difference By…”and this left Laura, who was eager to join the competition, at a bit of a loss.

The truth is, children often feel powerless to effect change. They lack resources. They lack support. They lack a certain brand of power that is necessary for real change. Laura understands this well, and she found herself up against the reality of it as she began to think about how she might respond to this prompt.

Laura loves to blog. It is a new hobby of hers, and while I’ve been happy to help her edit her text and manage the volume of email she is receiving, the work here is purely her own. And the intention behind it? Even more so. I’ve learned a lot from my daughter in a very short period of time, and it has had nothing to do with approving comments or wrangling with the messed up code that happens to be attached to this particular template she chose. I’d like to be just like her when I grow up. She humbles me, as children are so apt to do.

Laura will tell you that she has learned a lot as well. She’s learned that sometimes, there is great power in releasing even a tiny bit of good into the world. Today, she told me that she never realized how much of a difference someone could make by simply writing something. As a teacher? I am thrilled to hear this. And as someone who is only beginning to understand the power of Web 2.0 tools and the internet in general? I am stunned. Parents and teachers are trained to fear the internet, and I am hoping that this project will prove to be a solid example of how kids can use the net for good reasons.

Laura wanted to create a ripple effect of service. She wanted to be able to see how far it might travel, not just in terms of distance, but in range of magnitude as well. Many of the people who are visiting and participating and encouraging Laura’s efforts have great appreciation for this phenomenon. And I have to admit that one of the things that I love about this project is the fact that we are able to carve a visible path for Laura’s call. So many people are “paying it forward” this month, and thanks to web 2.0 tools, we can trace that path and see where it begins to divide, expand, and eventually, intersect again…Laura is hopeful that the final destination is simply amazing. And I’m hoping that the destination we reach on Christmas night is a temporary stop. I’m hoping that the path is never-ending now. That somehow, this year’s little project is something we all remember and act in memory of, in much the same way that Laura is memorializing her grandfather. That would be something, don’t you think?

This place is already getting so much more attention than Laura or I or anyone ever imagined it would. And we have people to thank and exciting things to mention!

First of all, our weekend was a pretty eventful one, thanks to the interest and free assistance provided by a number of people who stepped forward to help us, including Dr. Mani, Jen Lemen, Willie Crawford, and especially, Ria Ludy.

When I came home from work today? I had a nice phone conversation with Lauren Danza, the Associate Producer of the CBS News Early Show. Hello Lauren!!! You made our day!!! The best part? When you mentioned the fact that you were planning to do something small to make a difference today yourself. For real. That’s what mattered to Laura most. You wear some pretty big shoes, and when Laura learned that you were taking her challenge seriously? Well, that meant a lot to her. So, thank you.

In addition, many, many others have written lovely pieces about this project’s purpose in the last several days. Please do visit these sites and let them know we sent you. And thank you, so much, everyone. Everyone keeps telling me that John and I must be incredibly proud of Laura. And we are. But we’re just as amazed by the efforts of every single person who took the time to pay attention to our kid’s little project. It’s all of you who have made it BIG. And together, you are all making a difference.

How I Made a Difference on December 3, 2007

How Many Kisses Goodnight (Classic Board Books)

Today, I decided that my good deed would be donating gently used books to Roswell Park Cancer Institute. This is the hospital where my grandpa was treated when he was sick, and I know that there are children there who have cancer too. I think that maybe they will like my books.
I also plan on asking my classmates to contribute gently used books as well. My little sister Nina is seven, and she worked hard going through her shelves tonight to donate too! If you are interested in donating books yourself, please visit BookEnds.
My favorite book is How Many Kisses Goodnight? by Jean Monrad Thomas. It makes me feel cozy, because my mom and dad used to read it to me when I was little. I gave it to my sister, and she loves it too.
The reason why I decided to donate books today is because two AWESOME teachers from Starpoint Central School matched my funds today. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Fisher!!! I thought this would be a good deed to do to show my thanks.
My mom spent some time updating our blogroll. If you are participating and you have a blog, you should find your link there! If you are participating, but you don’t have a blog, you will still be listed on the Participants page at the top of the site. Please email us if we accidentally missed you. We can be contacted at twentyfivedays(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank you!
And also! My mom really needs help making a badge and I really would like to be able to help people have one for their sites. Please think about taking part in our badge contest! I would really appreciate it.